Color Label Solutions

Color Label Solutions
www.colorlabelsolutions.com

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Foodie "Fit" Labels

Foodie Fit, https://www.foodiefitmeals.com/is a Las Vegas meal prep company that combines the knowledge of macro and micro nutrients to create healthy and delicious dishes. Pick the meals that best suit your diet & appetite or create your own custom meals. They add new items every other week so that your taste buds never get bored. The meals are prepared fresh daily and never frozen. They offer free nutrition consultations to help you hit your fitness goals.

Foodie Fit Labels
Foodie Fit Labels
Andrew Kowal, owner of FoodieFit came to us some time ago.  As a new food company, Andrew wanted to print labels internally as they needed them.  “As we rotate our menu every other week, it’s impossible to use preprinted labels.  Large minimum order quantities and obsolete labels make purchasing preprinted labels not feasible for us”.  We started working with Andrew by printing the FoodieFit logo on the C3500 printer to review the print quality.



I tell people the C3500 printer is perfect when you want to print a image (like a logo), text, color codes and barcodes on a basic white label.

For Andrew, we calculated the estimate ink cost of FoodieFit’s initial label designs.  For a 4” x 4”, the estimated cost was $0.013/label.


C3500 Ink Calculation
$0.013/4" x 4" Label

Based on the costs of the printer, labels and ink, Andrew purchased a C3500 as well as BarTender.  As Andrew changed label artwork constantly, he wanted a way to update ingredients and product names quickly.


After about 1 year of using the C3500, Andrew contacted me about a C7500.  “We need faster printing as well as a higher print quality.”  After some print samples, Andrew purchased a C7500 and made the C3500 his “backup” printer.


C7500 Label Printer for Foodie Fit
C7500 Label Printer for Foodie Fit

About the same time, Andrew decided that FoodieFit needed some type of tamper-evident label.  Given their packaging, FoodieFit decided to begin using a 2” x 16”; to wrap around and seal their package.  Given the length of the label, we recommended they use a fanfolded version of this label.

And the fanfold labels work great for them.

16" Fanfold, Inkjet Labels
16" Fanfold Labels

According to Andrew, “the fanfold labels restack easily even after printing a large batch. It’s easy for our operators to print, grab a stack and begin labeling the packages.”


Foodie Fit Color Coded Labels
Foodie Fit Color Coded Labels
With the ability to print labels on-demand, Foodie Fit has implemented a color code system for their products.
  • Red for dinner items
  • Green for “active” products (more energy)
  • Yellow for breakfast items
  • Blue for snacks.

Green Color Codes For Active Food Products
Green Color Codes For Active Food Products
Color coding helps both customers and employees select the products they want; Especially when stored together in a warehouse or even in a refrigerator.


FoodieFit Color Label Products
FoodieFit Color Label Products

FoodieFit’s progression from the C3500 to the C7500 is not uncommon.  As the confidence and requirements grow for printing on-demand color labels, it’s natural to want higher print quality and faster production.  And we want to help our customer’s grow their business.

FoodieFit is a great customer for Color Label Solutions.  And I admire Andrew’s entrepreneurial skills as his operation grows, with plans for more locations and centralized production.  One of the best aspects of working at Color Label Solutions are customers like Andrew and FoodieFit.

If you need labels for your food products; or even color coded labels, contact us.  We’ll help you produce the labels you need, when you need them.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Saturday, November 3, 2018

L801 Cannabis Labels

MMG Agriculture,  http://www.mmgagriculture.com/was one of the first MME Cultivations to open when the medical market hit Nevada in 2015. Started to provide the best medicinal cannabis to patients seeking alternative ways to relieve medical problems without the use of pharmaceuticals, MMG has strains proven for symptom relief. And their lead cultivator and crew are passionate about the cannabis they grow. As a boutique grow, MMG Agriculture provides Nevada with the highest quality marijuana.

MMG Agriculture
MMG Agriculture

I met Sarah Rosenfeld, the owner of MMG Agriculture at the Reno Cannabis Convention, http://www.therenoexpo.com/in early 2018.  After seeing options at MJ BIZCON Next in New Orleans, https://mjbizconference.com/next/, reviewing print samples, and watching an on-site demo, Sarah purchased a L801 printer and gloss poly labels.  Ryan Goig, who designs the labels for MMG, combined with the L801 is producing some great looking labels.

L801 Printed on Gloss Poly
L801 Printed on Gloss Poly
I really like the look of the designs; and the print quality they are achieving.  I especially like the use of colors on a basic white label. This type of design produces not only great looking labels but saves ink costs.

L801 Printed Label
L801 Printed Label
And after printing thousands of labels, MMG has used hardly any ink as yet. From the Afinia L801 Toolbox, you can see the ink costs of every print job (sorry for the crappy picture):

L801 Ink Costs
L801 Ink Costs
The L801 label printer has some of the lowest ink costs of any benchtop label printer.

For their designs, Ryan has set up form-fillable PDF’s to enable the easy input of variable data onto the label prior to printing.

MMG Agriculture Label Artwork
MMG Agriculture Label Artwork
According to Sarah, aligning the printing on the labels correctly has been a learning process. To produce full-bleed labels, be sure to design your labels slightly larger than the actual size.  I recommend .03” larger on all sides to insure the print goes to the edge of die-cut labels.  Afinia offers advice on full-bleed label printing on page 30 of their manual:  

And I wrote an earlier post on full-bleed printing using the L801 as well:

MMG has great looking labels on their doob tubes as well:

MMG Doob Tube Label
MMG Doob Tube Label
And now, we’re looking at moving to a tapered label to make the gap on the tube equal top and bottom for MMG.

Non-Tapered Label On Doob Tube
Non-Tapered Label On Doob Tube
With tubes, you should consider using a tapered label.

And if you are labeling joint tubes, consider our semi-automatic applicator option:



Or even a fully automated option:


According to Sarah, “the print quality we’re getting on the L801 is great.  For our operation, the L801 has been a good choice.”   And I want to add: Sarah and Ryan have been great to support.  We're lucky to work with people like Sarah and Ryan.

The L801 is a great choice for those manufactures who need high print quality labels; especially when combined with gloss poly material.  If you need great print quality on your labels, contact us.  We’ll help you with all aspects of your print on-demand color label solution.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Label Expo 2018

Last week, I attended Label Expo 2018 in Rosemont, IL (https://www.labelexpo-americas.com/)  and saw 3, relatively new, label printer ideas that I wanted to share with you.


First, Neuralabel introduced their newly available, straight paper path version of the 300x.

Straight Paper-Path 300x
Straight Paper-Path 300x

With this version, the paper path changes from having 3 turns to straight through.  In the previous version, labels may pre-dispense (come off the liner) and get stuck inside.  If the label was synthetic so it would not rip, no big deal.  If the label was paper, it was almost impossible to remove the shredded label.  This change makes the 300x much more usable.  Watch it print fanfold labels here:



(FYI: you may notice the paper path is opposite from the previous version as well).

In addition, Neuralabel has developed a very unique solution for fixing plugged inkjet nozzles: cleaning solutions:


300x Inkjet Nozzle Cleaning Solution
300x Inkjet Nozzle Cleaning Solution
According to Neuralabel, the cleaning solution can fix simple plugged nozzles.  Having dealt with this issue many times in the past, I think this simple solution is a great idea.  It could cure a major portion of the service calls around inkjet label printers. 

The new straight paper path 300x offers high resolution, and very fast printing.  And the new 300x does not require the operator to move the printer when changing print widths.  This printer costs about $10,000, and still requires blackmarks on the labels (no gap sensor).  Further, I still have concerns about printing full-bleed as it requires .25” gaps.

I see the 300x as a good option for chemical companies wanting to upgrade the print quality and speed of their GHS label printers.

Second, I saw again the latest prototype of the Okidata LED-based label printer.

QL-300 LED Label Printer
QL-300 LED Label Printer
Okidata has selected AstroNova to sell this printer in North America; and will sell it under the model number QL-300. 


Okidata has solved some of the key issues with LED/laser printers with this new technology:  Wasted labels on every print job, large label minimum widths and lengths and color registration.  With this printer, you can print down to a 4” minimum batch length with down to .5” minimum label length.  And it prints down to a 1” minimum width.

QL-300 LED Label Printer
QL-300 LED Label Printer
But the big reason to use this new printer is the availability of white toner, matte black color and the ability to print various materials including foil labels.  White toner, deep blacks and good results on foils, clear films and vinyl will make this new printer fit many customers. 

Silver Foil and Clear Film Printed on the QL-300
Silver Foil and Clear Film Printed on the QL-300
AstroNova has yet to announce the price of the printer, but has said the toner cost per label will be comparable to existing inkjet. I still need to test to insure the actual results match the claims; and I hope to get one in the 1st quarter of 2019.

Finally, I got the chance to study the Trojan T2C, the first available “Mini-Press”.

T2C Mini Press
T2C Mini Press
During this deep dive, I learned three key aspects of this Memjet-based press.  First, the printer has only one consumable item in addition to the ink: a cleaning roller.  It makes this version of Memjet printers easier to maintain.

Second, the T2C uses 8 liters of ink:

T2C 8 Liters Ink
T2C Uses 8 Liters of Ink
That’s a lot of ink and labels; and a lower ink cost than most other on-demand color label printers.  It may be the lowest ink cost per label!

Third, I found the new Niagara ink from Memjet, Purell resistant:

Purell Resistant Memjet Ink
Purell Resistant Memjet Ink
In addition, I tested the ink once I returned with 70% IPA on gloss paper.  And it withstood the IPA fairly well.  After soaking for about 1 hour, the ink did smear slightly.  No bad for paper and dye-based inks; and a big deal for companies needing alcohol resistance on their labels.

Alcohol Durable, Dye-Based Memjet Ink
Alcohol Durable, Dye-Based Memjet Ink
The T2C costs about $30,000; therefore, this printer is designed for companies printing thousands per batch.  You can pay $40,000 and save about 33% on all future ink purchases as another option.

After Label Expo 2017, I wrote about the T2C and the Okidata LED printer:

And here is the summary of Label Expo 2016:

And Label Expo 2014:

And Label Expo 2012 #1:

And Label Expo 2012 #2:

Things have changed in the last 6 years.  Some printers have hit it big; and other not so much.

Let me know if any of these ideas presented in this summary of Label Expo 2018 could fit your business.  Look forward to hearing your feedback.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Holy Grail


For a long time, I’ve been searching for the holy grail of on-demand color label printing; and I think I’ve found it.

Not the famed cup; rather alcohol resistant gloss label media.  And I use the word “media” as it’s more than a gloss synthetic, rather others as well.  Let me tell you what I’ve found.


First, water and alcohol resistant Gloss Poly.

Alcohol-Resistant Gloss Poly
C7500G Alcohol-Resistant Gloss Poly
I received this week, a few 8.5” x 11” samples of a new gloss poly label which should become available next month.  I printed not only the samples using the C7500G (see above-I thought they printed great), but also tested them in water.

Water Resistant Gloss Poly
Water Resistant Gloss Poly


After running them in water, I tried to rub off the ink; and found no smudging.  Currently, we have splash resistant gloss poly; but not bullet-proof water-resistant gloss poly.  This material seemed to perform better.

In addition, I poured 50% IPA on the gloss poly; and found none of the ink came off:


Gloss Poly with Alcohol
Gloss Poly with IPA/Alcohol

These results are exciting to me.  After testing probably 50 to 100 different gloss poly materials, I think I found a material that is actually resistant to alcohol.  I’m sure that if you rubbed the material sufficiently hard, you may get different results.  But this version of the material appears much more resistant to alcohol.

This new gloss poly should work well in applications such as medical devices and GHS where alcohol resistance is required.  In addition, the material should work well in applications with liquids where more durable water resistance is required.  This new label should help many different companies.

In addition to the gloss white synthetic labels, I tested a new clear film label:

C7500G Printed Clear Film
C7500G Printed Clear Film
I thought this new material printed great!  In addition, this material seemed water proof as the ink did not smudge after soaking for some time:


Water-Resistant Clear Film
Water-Resistant Clear Film
And this material was resistant to 50% IPA as well:

Alcohol-Resistant Clear Film
Alcohol-Resistant Clear Film

The alcohol made the material curl, but the ink would not come off with easy rubbing.  Again, I can imagine that this material would not resist all attempts to remove the ink; but the initial tests are very encouraging.

This new clear film would seem to fit applications where a more durable clear film is required; beverages, devices and even some chemicals.

Finally, I tested an inkjet coated silver which is another material we searched for over the years.  We did sell some silver, but it was expensive and the ink came off easily in water and alcohol.

Not only did this silver film print great,

Inkjet Coated Silver Film

 But the material was water resistant:

Water-Resistant Silver Film
And 50% IPA resistant as well:

IPA Resistant Silver Film
IPA Resistant Silver Film


As my IPA tests do not follow a specific protocol (I basically poured IPA on them and rubbed), you may see different results.  But I’m encouraged by what results I did achieve.
Silver film should fit higher value markets: such as cannabis and cosmetics.  It’s a great new material to utilize.

As background, I printed each of these labels using a C7500G given all three of these materials had a glossy finish.  C3500 and other pigment color label printers may have slightly different findings.  Once I get more materials, I’ll test them using dye-based inks as well.

Based on my discussions with the manufacturers, these new materials should be available next month.  I hope to start selling them shortly.

One potential watchout: I don’t have pricing as yet.  As with all new products, these labels could be expensive.  So we’ll need to compare how our existing gloss, film and silver labels compare both in terms of performance and cost for each of our customers.

I think these results are a big deal.  It’s not the holy grail, but something we’ve been searching for a long time.  If you want durable gloss poly, clear film or silver film, contact us to discuss how these new labels fit into your operation.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670
info@colorlabelsolutions.com 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

14ers

14er Boulder, http://www.14ercannabis.com/#produces the highest quality, most novel and pure cannabis flowers, extractions, and genetics found anywhere in the world.


According to Dan Seidman, Operations with 14er Boulder, “for a long time, we have worked hard to develop and grow the best strains possible, including many different hybrids.”



After visiting 14er’s operation, I can tell you that I was impressed; brand new and very clean operation.  14er has one of the best facilities in the cannabis business that I’ve seen.

When 14er first contacted me a long time ago, they were having issues with a C3500 label printer that was purchased elsewhere.  Although I don’t recall the specific issue, we solved the problem quickly and began selling 14er labels and ink.  We even began producing for them a custom size label for their nitrogen packed cans:

C7500 N2 Label Design
14er Label Design

And it wasn’t long after we started shipping ink and labels, 14er upgraded to a C7500.  According to Dan, “the C7500 is a beast and very important to our operation.  In fact, the C7500 has become a critical part of our operation.  Using Nicelabel, I’ve designed all of our artwork; which makes all of our product labels easy to print.”

C7500G
C7500G 

And you can purchase a C7500 also here:  https://colorlabelsolutions.com/product/c7500-inkjet-label-printer/


 And after purchasing the C7500, we had to change the design of 14er’s labels.  As the C7500 has a ~2” minimum width and 14er places the rolls on an applicator, we had to shift the narrow label to 1 side.  This change enabled the printing and application of a narrower label.

14er N2 Can Labels
14er N2 Can Labels

As a regular reader of this blog, you may remember an earlier post with similar issues around placement of a narrow label on wider liner to apply with an applicator: http://colorlabelsondemand.blogspot.com/2017/07/1-solution.html

14er Product Labels
14er Product Labels
Working with good people like Dan and 14er’s is why I started Color Label Solutions; and makes me happy.  Contact us if we can support your label operations as well.

Guy Mikel
855-962-7670